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BJP demands end to virtual mode of Odisha Legislative Assembly

The Odisha unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on February 20 demanded that the virtual mode of participation in the proceedings of the State Legislative Assembly be done away with. BJP members staged a walkout from the all-party meeting convened ahead of the State Budget Session.

In the past, the BJP has been critical of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for not participating in the State Assembly proceedings physically despite being present in Bhubaneswar.

“Due to its brute majority, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is not ready to accommodate any suggestion from the Opposition. The most contentious issue is participation in the Odisha Legislative Assembly through virtual mode. The system has been stopped in Parliament and other State Assemblies as COVID-19 no longer poses a threat as before,” Jayanarayan Mishra, Leader of Opposition in the Odisha Assembly, said.

“Our demand before the Speaker was that only members present physically in the House should be allowed to present their views. No one should be allowed to do so through the virtual mode,” Mr. Mishra said. He alleged that decisions that suited the ruling party were being taken.

Speaker Vikram Keshari Arukha said that due to the improvement in the COVID-19 situation, the general public will be allowed in the designated gallery for the first time since 2020. “Those who are not in a position to come to the House express their views through the virtual mode,” Mr. Arukha said.

Both the BJP and the Congress said they would highlight the deterioration in the law and order situation in the State in the wake of the murder of former Health and Family Welfare Minister Naba Kishore Das.

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